Tag Archives: museum Termas-da-Azenha

Requiem for the eucalyptus

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I bought the eucalyptuses when they were still tiny with only a few little leaves for 10 cents each

We had talked about it extensively: how much water eucalyptus suck up. While working for a real estate agent, in the preparatory phase of our emigration, I visited a casa-murada-com-quintal (I belonged to the rústico department) where the future former owner had planted an adjacent eucalyptus forest.

Once there was also a very deep hole in the ground, about which the future former told that it had been completely full with water in the past, but since he had planted eucalyptus on this piece of land, you could see the water level drop. Those trees drink that much.

We could almost see it drop when we stood there at that hole, talking. (A portuguese conversation can be quite lenghty.)

Later, when we were talking about dehydrating the fields (which at that time were still part of the Termas, but which we sold later, because what business do we have with fields, urban idiots as we were) the memory of those eucalyptuses came to mind.

It was now clear that the whole of Portugal is full of eucalyptuses, but it brings the country not much good

It dries out the entire country. Now we were exactly after that: dehydration.  Our country of origin is famous for it. We want to obtain the polder-model, as worthy descendants of Jan Leeghwater, but then with trees instead of windmills. 

That is why I bought those seedlings and planted them along the ditch. I accidentally mowed a few while they were still small and were in danger of being choked by the reeds. Despite the unwanted thinning, they were still fairly close to each other.

They were not bothered about that at all.

These eucalyptuses have grown as high as the sky in about 17 years

I had a vague scene in the back of my mind that someday I would hear (while being in heaven) a great-grandchild saying, “Yes, my great-grandmother planted those!” – and then they would have become very beautiful and old and big.

Unfortunately, Fate had something else in mind with those eucalyptuses

Last fall we unexpectedly and unvoluntarily hosted Leslie. Leslie the hurricane. As a result, around 4 eucalyptuses were blown over and fell onto the roof. Fortunately, the damage was limited, but if we can expect more extreme weather due to climate change, it is not so smart to leave Very High Trees too close to your house.

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They had done their best, probably in collaboration with son’s guardian angel, because they had fallen exactly on the concrete edge of the roof above his room. They had not been broken down or suddenly dropped; they had slowly fallen. Said the insurance agent.

The past week I felt like Idéfix

photo:  https://www.vivreasainghin.org/2018/10/11/deforestation/idefix-arbres/

Neighbor Josué had arranged someone who would cut them off and take them away. I had a tendency to howl next to the fallen ones – like Idéfix.

I just can’t get used to the view. The air is so bare. Only blue, without any buds and branches.

It was wise. But sometimes wise isn’t fun at all.

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

The painting course started on the 13th …

They even wake up laughing, I think, as I sweep up the leaves of the nespereira, and I hear the laughter from behind the hotel rooms. How special is that!

Yesterday afternoon Wil, the teacher of the painting course, came into the kitchen with: “Now we all get the giggles” – which I thought was a good sign

Just like I thought it was a good sign that they walked into the kitchen to get milk from the fridge, make coffee or tea, and grab an orange (“So good, it tastes really different from those at home!”) .

And who are “they” – if we may ask?

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The ladies of the painting course, which spontaneously emerged last year during the summer holidays, and which is now becoming a reality. Wil was here last year on holiday with her daughter and grandsons, and found it an inspiring environment for a painting course on location.

All her life, Wil has been organizing painting courses, 73 years old and surely not going to stop! Together with her mate Louise, they’re an unbeatable team

Last night I did what I prefer to do at the end of the day: after taking a shower, do a bit of reading in my comfy chair. The whole painting-course-group was chatting at the large table on the esplanada – right under my comfy chair. It sounded very nice. A lot of laughter.

I was enjoying my little alone-time upstairs, with the idea that this painting course is becoming a success

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I couldn’t really hear it, but it was animated for sure. One of them was telling something, and that was apparently hilarious because laughter erupted at various pitches time after time. Laughter is contagious. I was grinning like crazy in my chair.

There is not only laughter, there is also work!

Yesterday afternoon there were people here and there with a drawing pad on their lap. Many flowers are painted, because there are so many of those now. In spring it is a party here for that matter. That’s what the butterflies and the bees think too.

I leave everything alone when I see that butterflies and bees like them. We’ll mow later, when everything gets drier. Moreover, I don’t have time for that now, because I have to cook for 11 people!

But all this didn’t start so well, on the 13th …

The bus to the airport broke down, they had to transfer to another bus. “Hurryhurry, we won’t make it to the plane on time!” Someone nervously left her bag with everything in it in the broken bus, and had to go to pick it up with a (very expensive) taxi, while the others were waiting impatiently because the gate was about to close.

It all went well, but it was a real last-minute!

Two and a half hours to recover and to laugh about all this stress, but in Portugal the 13th still applied. They were delayed on the train; someone had jumped before it.

That is of course quite upsetting – let’s respectfully shut up and say no more about it – but anyway more delay.

Finally in Alfarelos, the destination, there was only one taxi. With hands and feet they managed to make it clear that the group had to go to Termas-da-Azenha.

Unfortunately, only 5 + luggage could fit in the taxi

In the meantime I was more or less informed over whatsapp, that it would take at least another hour before everybody would be there. Once again I was happy with my haybox, where the curry & rice was kept nice and warm. A curry doesn’t get bad by standing an hour longer, so that was no point. The weather was nice, 32º – also not a problem.

I asked the taxi driver if he couldn’t recruit some colleagues, and then the mystery was solved. “It’s the 13th,” he said, shaking his head (yes, we all knew that already!) “All my colleagues are in Fátima.” Ah! It fell on top of me! Of course! May 13th , the first time the three shepherd children of Fátima had seen Maria!

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It is full of people in Fátima on the 13th of May, of August and of October

Not a bad day for Catholics. They’re forgiven for all their sins, if they go to Fátima on these days. For heathens like us it’s a bit different though ….

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Family visit and golden rain

Nobody knows how many times it has been. We’ve all lost count in all those years that we’ve been living here in Termas-da-Azenha. And it’s all caused by fear.

O yeah? What’s up?

Fear of flying, that is what’s up

My brother doesn’t like to fly. Many more people have that (maybe they’ll save our planet because of it). He solved it very simply when we emigrated: he bought a red van. It has since become The Red Van – the Rotterdam – Azenha service, without a timetable but with a whole stevedoring team.

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He came the second year we were here with a van full of memories of our mother, who had died shortly before.

Those things are still scattered throughout our village, just like the next loads, because the Red Van has already been driven back and forth countless times. Fully loaded with useful things such as peanut butter, indonesian food, dressers and couches, but there was also a piano, and a real water pump with 800 liter capacity.

In recent years, the RV usually rides in April, the nicest month of the year

Just a pity that the weather isn’t completely stable in April, despite the beauty of fireflies, starry skies and the scent of orange blossom and eucalyptus. The first week, the family had to deal with with rain and cold-for-the-time-of-the-year.

Fortunately it was a wonderful weather the second week!

I found that very pleasant, because that way they could also have breakfast and / or read in the sun. We come from a family of readers, so books / e-readers are a basic condition for survival. I also found it very pleasant because we are also from a family who like to do stuff.

There were other guests, an ex-volunteer with her family, campers and a group of students with supervisors.

The latter had booked half board. Breakfast is not that hard, but dinner is a different story. My sisters took matters in hand, peeled potatoes (you don’t feed students pasta – they make that themselves all the time) and did the dishes.

At home they have a dishwasher but here there are piles of dishes to wash and dry. I don’t have a dishwasher, because that makes no sense. It only takes much longer

In the meantime, my brother provided the entrance with a whole battery of lavender plants and carnations, weeded the Butterfly Garden and sown even more tasty flowers (tasty for butterflies & bees), planted the Golden Rain (which seems to be happy). My sisters sewn curtains, cleaned their own rooms … too much to mention!

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I’m blessed with such a family. As Julie Andrews once sang: “… for somewhere in my youth or childhood … I must have done something good …” – otherwise they would never do that?

If you ever have to face the choice: the position of the youngest in a large family is a Golden Choice! I can heartily recommend it!

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

The volunteer who came in a Volkswagen van

Her son Olle is sitting on a stool in the kitchen, radiant and at ease, and chewing a chocolate easter egg. Sixteen years ago, when his mother was sitting here in the kitchen just as radiantly and at ease, he didn’t yet exist.

When she came here with her Volkswagen, she did exactly the same

They arrived late in the afternoon. It was still early in the year, or it wasn’t such nice weather (also occurs here), anyway – she ended up in the kitchen on a stool and met the other volunteers who had been there for a while.

I felt responsible for her well-being, but I had to do something else as well. “Go on, it’s fine,” Arlene said cheerfully, and immediately chatted on with Connie, an older woman who was also here as a volunteer.

She came with an old Volkswagen van, together with a friend-from-Kindergarten. Yesyesyes, such a van:

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It had been a nice trip, together with her Kindergarten-buddy “Wubbe” whom she had named that way long time ago. Wubbe’s real name is Miriam, but of course everyone immediately took her nickname. Wubbe needed a little more time to get used to, like “normal” people. I say “normal” ´cause I’ve always wondered about the lightning speed in which Arlene gained a place in the group.

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As easily as she sat down on that stool; as easily as she talked with everyone (a lot about the Volkswagen) who’d been there for a while, as easily she got a place in group dynamics

The Volkswagen van had some problems, it rattled a little, didn’t pull well – in short, trouble with old age. I offered to go to the nearest garage to see if they could do something about it. No matter how easily Arlene chatted with everyone, to explain in Portuguese what’s wrong with your old van is a completely different story. That becomes “charades” at the highest level.

My portuguese wasn’t so great at the time, and certainly not my technical portuguese, but helped by my youngest of 8, I managed to make it clear that he did a bub-bub-bub at times when he shouldn’t. And that you heard “screeeech!” when you had to put on the handbrake. Up to the ceiling. And that he was wiggling in the bends and did fjutfjutfjutfjut when it really wasn’t appropriate.

Well, that was a serious problem, but they ensured me that they were going to do their best with this Volkswagen van

In the early days in Termas-da-Azenha it was different than now. Logical.

We were playing a little, playing “Catan” in real life, and trying the weirdest things. The FancyDressingRoom was created in that time, and Arlene has been a driving factor in this. Funny, isn’t it, how can things go?

She saw the small room, an idea fell on her head, and given her nature, she immediately came up with it. I already wrote about it in a previous blog – “Red wall, purple wall” and when I apparently pulled a face, she quickly followed up with: “and if you don’t like it, I’ll paint it white again at my expense.”

One thing led to another, and then there was the mosaic floor of the upcoming FancyDressingRoom 1.0 in the hallway. I had once scored boxes full of pre-cut triangles at one of the tile factories in the area, and they now came in handy for the geometric pattern that Arlene was working out with Wubbe.

It’s a little bad weather now. Just like in the north, April is an unstable month, freeze-sunshine-rain-heatwave, and this year it’s rain

Oh yeah. It was necessary. In the north you also noticed last year that the drought gives a chance of forest fires, so you now understand better that rain is necessary. But it’s a pity to have rain during your week of holidays. Especially this kind of nostalgic holidays.

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Even more especially if you’re in a house with 3 teenagers. The Volkswagen van has been sold – maybe she’s still driving around somewhere. Who knows?

Despite the weather, still very nice to catch up again, to recall memories, to treat well-known people and to sit by the campfire as usual. (not just rain, but also beautiful evenings!)

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Dark clouds above Termas-da-Azenha

We are doing well, thank you.

We’re doing the spring cleaning. Cleaning inside and out, throwing away, planting little flowery plants, pruning trees. Washing curtains. Cleaning walls with high pressure, paint, scratch, paste, mow.

“Yes! Broes (my son), they went out! Come on, we can go!” Of course, there are guests in the meantime, and nobody appreciates hearing a mower-motor early in the morning. At this time of year, they’re usually Portuguese guests, and they’re generally not up early.

That’s not so bad, because early in the morning you first have to listen quietly to the birds yourself, with your morning coffee, and anyway the grass is still too wet.

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But now the grass is very wet: it is raining

All our plans are crumbling around us.

April has always been the rainy month. Aprrrrrrrrrrrril and Septemberrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, with the R from Rain.

That has changed, abolished, er … other policies, something with climate change or so.

But he’s back, baby! This is a wet April

Very funny: everyone who lives here is happy with it. Well, sort of. Nobody really likes rain of course. Everything gets messy, and you can’t do anything outside. Not even just to go outside, you first have to find your good shoes and your umbrella.

So we are all a bit ambivalent about it. Glad that it’s raining, because it was too dry for a long time, but yeah … it’s raining …

Yet it is beautiful, those threatening dark skies. “Intelligent people adapt to the circumstances” – I read somewhere, and I try to be intelligent with all my might. Doesn’t always work, because it has now been going on for almost 2 weeks.

Two weeks of being intelligent all the time is a bit too much to ask of a person, if you ask me

I’m going to light a candle for the weather gods, if they’ll just want to turn that climate change the other way again. Preferably towards the 20th of April please? Direction sun and warmth, please, thank you!

Are you joining me, and will you light a candle too?

 

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

All dolled up during the holiday

All my theater clothing went, long ago, in that big truck that brought all our belongings to Portugal.

It spent the first year in boxes, because it took a while before all those things could be distributed throughout our little village.

The first occasion for using it was a colorful evening by the first group of friends, guests and volunteers

That was extremely amusing, everyone dolled up, and singing our heart out. I have a vague memory of a man in a glitter jacket with a sombrero on his head, seriously playing cards with some other strangely dressed people with hats on.

The next step came from the next group of volunteers – someone who said: “I have an idea for that little room on the first floor … one wall red, the other purple … (apparently I had an expression of disgust on my face) … ah! You’ll see, it’ll be beautiful! And if you don’t like it, I paint it completely white again at my expense. What do you think? All your costumes and high heels can fit in there! ”

The end result was indeed beautiful. The floor (mosaic of course) is gorgeous. The best part is that she will be our guest again next week, after almost 18 years. With her whole family, twins and all. I am really curious what she’ll think of the FancyDressingRoom 3.0!

Because: FancyDressingRoom 3.0 is finished

After a few years, that little red & purple room was full – extending on the corridor. The FancyDressingRoom always has been an excuse for me to buy some nice clothes or heels. I no longer wear them (disastrous with those Portuguese pavement!) but it is still a weak point. Hard to resist the temptation.

A few years ago, the FancyDressingRoom went to the ground floor

Everything together: the big room with table tennis, pool and foossball, the library with all board games and children’s books, and the FDR behind it. Great place, but more space. Dangerous! Before you know it, we will bulge out of there again.

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With the move, I started selecting, asking the help of my sisters. With a panel of three you have a better chance that something will be thrown out. We applied strict criteria, and indeed a lot was discarded. I immediately drove to the old clothes container in Alqueidão, because I know myself. Before you know it, I’m going to dig into those bags for that beautiful red blouse “it’s a shame to throw away, it’s such a beautiful color!” – and so on, ad infinitum.

I also have to control myself seriously on the market. Sometimes they have such special things you never see elsewhere

Now we had to move again: the library and the FancyDreesingRoom had to make way for the washing machines

That was a huge move, but well worth it. Now it’s no longer a bit hidden behind the library, but is more part of the big room, where you can play pool & board games, ping & pong, chess & cards, read & use the internet, play the piano and become someone else.

Or just stay yourself and chat with the other guests or have a nice dinner while you admire the creations of your children.

We hope you will enjoy this little video we made to give you an idea of the unique concept of our FancyDressingRoom!

 

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Confidence in our (mineral) water

It was such a day today.

It was already clear last night that the kitchen faucet had health problems. The hot water tap turned loosely and made a strange sound. It is one of the 9 kitchen faucets here in the village, and the most used.

Used day in, day out; just keep on running – another jet of wonderfully clear mineral water

Hot or cold. Well, we actually don’t have cold water, because this thermal water comes from the well at a temperature of 30º. The earth warms it in the subterranean lake, the spill-over runs spontaneously through the bathhouse. Of course it cools down a bit on the way, but in the summer you have to put a bottle in the fridge if you really want cold water.

Talk about dutifully. Or reliable! Everything with “faithfulness” is pretty much applicable to that tap.

He’d been there for years. One of the first faucets plus water pipes that I installed myself.

That was a challenge for me at the time. In the meantime I think: “I did it once – you must do everything once – so now I call the plumber.”

That is roughly 12 years ago. That’s around 144 years old in kitchen-faucet-years!

Anyway, it was clear that a replacement of the knob or the interior wouldn’t do. And because you need water so many times, I thought it would be best if I started my day with that.

Always do the difficult things first. Then you have the rest of the day desperately thinking about why it doesn’t work and what you should do now. So I was completely prepared for situations, misery, setbacks and so on.

I step on the little ladder, turn off the water, grab the pipe wrench, and loosen the nuts with some effort. It seems as if everything has grown together, as if they do not want to let go of each other. I briefly inspect the tap, but no, nothing can be saved about this. Come on with the new one!

I’d found a brand new kitchen faucet in the workshop, in a box with the words: “Attention! The rubbers are missing!”

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I wrote that down myself, because I know me. It’s possible that you mount the tap, and it’ll leak. Then you’re spending a day discovering what’s going on. Experience writes here. I already did that once.

So I look for rubbers and even find them, push them in, screw the faucet on, walk to the stairs, and turn the water on very carefully. Everything in the expectation that if I return to the kitchen in a minute, I will be confronted with a fountain that is spraying in all directions.

But what the ….! Nothing of that! The water is in the water pipe, and when I turn on the tap, it just works. And when I close it, the water just stays inside!

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How about that?

It was such a day today. The rest also went so smoothly. Oh, why doesn’t such a day last your entire life?

(foto of the faucet: credits: objects@arkela)

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

To the Embassy to renew your passport

Sometimes it seems like I have a special talent. A talent to attract difficulties.

Everything that could go wrong, I’d already figured out, so that no longer can happen. My conviction is: everything you thought of before, will not happen.

That means that sometimes I walk around with a head full of apocalyptic scenarios – then that certainly doesn’t happen. This ranges from a falling scaffolding with my son on it to letters from bank managers who suddenly claim that they have not received mortgage-payments for years, from walking around with your skirt in your panties when you’ve been to the toilet in the pastelaria to the fall of a full plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce on the tiled kitchen floor.

Now Fate is usually not impressed by that, and still finds a way to make things go completely wrong. Or maybe not wrong, but make it into a nice cliffhanger.

As was the case with my passport being renewed

As an expat you must go to the Embassy for this. So, to Lisbon. I already wrote a nice blog about it a few weeks ago.

I originally had an appointment at the Embassy on January 25. Had I kept to that: nothing wrong. For some reason that turned out to be bad, so I rescheduled the appointment to the 25th of February.

Two days before my old passport would expire

It would take a maximum of three weeks, I read on the Embassy site, and that was confirmed by telephone. Bom.

In that case I can book a plane ticket for March 23.

A little tight, but it would arrive by the 18th at the latest.

Ha! Do you already feel the difficulties coming? Because the passport did not.

It made me very restless. Sticked a not-to-be-missed message for the postman on the letterbox, and around the hour he normally comes by, I was “doing things” in the neighbourhood of the reception.

blog_to-the-Embassy-to-renew-your-passport

Nothing. No passport to be seen, old or new

Well, okay, one day late – it can happen, but then I started calling. At first it was said that it was “difficult, difficult, depending on what the Ministry does, three to four weeks …”

“No, no,” I interrupted in a friendly but determined manner, “I am assured it would be there within three weeks.”

Anyway, it took two days and then it was arranged that I could still pick it up. The day before I would fly. Half past five up, early train, time-consuming connections in Lisbon (two subways, tram and quite a walk – they could relocate that Embassy a bit, from an infrastructure-technical point of view).

Doesn’t matter anymore. I have my passport, renewed and all

If you read this, I’ll hopefully be high and dry in the Netherlands.

At least …

If the train doesn’t get a flat … if there is no bomb alert in Porto center … if the plane does not crash … if the pilot isn’t behind the wheel drunk and loses his way …

if … if …

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on PinterestFuturenet, and on monday on LinkedIn.

 

 

Learning portuguese, poispois!

I have been listening for a year to the professora of the children, during the break. After the first confusion about where the boys (in those days 6 & 8) had to go to school, it turned out that they didn’t speak much Portuguese yet. And we were not exactly fluent, even though we had been learning portuguese for a year.

So I was allowed to go to the school of 8 children and 1 teacher: professora Ana Paula

A cheerful warm chubby woman, who talked to me every break in fast portuguese. A good listening test, but I couldn’t say much in return. And I wasn’t comfortable enough in that foreign language, to throw those typical inserts through her conversation, like: “Pronto!” or “Claro!” or “Pois!”

So I actually often said “Sim!”, and if it was serious business: “Simsimsim!”

blog_learning-portugese-poispois

If you are constantly translating in your head (when you’re learning portugese) then you don’t chat that relaxed

After 18 years I manage to rattle back considerably, I have developed an automatism to avoid the linguistic pitfalls in a conversation, and I even say “Pronto!” at the end of a chat once or twice.

“Pronto” is an introduction to the ending of a conversation

But what strikes me these days is that the “pois” disappears. I don’t hear it often anymore. That, of course, was one of the first words I picked up; mainly because friends have the last name Poiesz. Same pronounciation. So that was double fun.

The Poiesz-clan had a lot of fun because they walked on the market and always heard their last name. The Poiesz-es have an excellent sense of humor anyway.

blog_learning-portugese-poispois

On the market you often see little groups of people chatting, but the Portuguese were – are – always up for a chat. It was even fairly normal to come across two cars that blocked the road to have a chat. Then you just waited. Nobody honks, or gets impatient. Not here in the country anyway.

In the supermarket ditto, two acquaintances who blocked the path because they had to fill eachother in about the latest details in their lives, and a lot of “pois-es” were involved.
It is a consenting sound, it means something like: I hear you / yesyes / sure / dude! / wellwell / exactly!

I hear it less and less. That can mean two things. It has become normal for me – there are more things that tell me that I have integrated quite well. I no longer fall back from awe when I see a portuguese man grabbing his earlobe in a restaurant to indicate that it is very, very tasty. I am no longer almost moved to death by the sight of a beautiful, clean, wide, quiet beach full of mussel shells (well…. this one’s on the edge ….)

I suspect that the portugese society is changing considerably

The “pois” consensus is disappearing a bit. Young people shout “Fixe!” (feesh!”) when they think something’s great, but I rarely hear them doing “pois”. The ultimate expression of harmony – “girl, I know exactly what you’re talking about, you’re so right, I know!” – is slowly disappearing.

It must be a different fashion. More from older people. The youngsters shout: “Fixe!”, which is also a consent, but in a different, more enthusiastic way. They’re not yet in that calmer pois-like phase of their lives.

Have a nice chat, com calma, it’ll come, poispois … maybe it ‘ll come-back! Just give it time …

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<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

Volunteers: the yard wanderer

Henk comes by in the kitchen, when I’m preparing everything for the nasi goreng for tonight. “Come and have a look, if you can spare the time”, he says, and walks ahead of me to his workplace for today.

Volunteer Henk has been here several times, parks his camper next to the reception, and starts doing good, useful things

blog_volunteers: the yard wanderer

Next project: adapting the kitchen in Casa Palmeira

We like that, because there are always good, useful things to do here. For the large part, we do this ourselves – this is a mother-and-son business – but a volunteer who knows what goes on around here is a blessing.

I lay down my cloth and follow to the terrace of guest room 1. There is a roof over the door. That is almost no luxury, because when it rains (sometimes it does) and the wind blows (at the same time), it pops directly on the back door, and rear doors do not like that. Then they start having trouble, and eventually rot.

At least, if they are made of wood. And this one is

This morning he asked for it himself, because I had already dropped a hint (20 times or so, very subtly, that I would love to have a roof over the door of room 1. That that wouldn’t be a luxury, and that the roof that he made over the door of room 2, is super, great, wonderful! It improves the quality of almost everyone’s life!)

Henk understood the hint, not being stupid, but at first he was busy making a trendy love-seat for the Chessterrace

blog_volunteers-the-yard-wanderer

chessterrace

I immediately jumped up to walk to the spot and started gesturing and pointing enthusiastically. We discussed the action plan. What materials are needed, and what do I have?

“I am going to wander around for a while, then I’ll find what I need”, he said reassuringly, and I know that it’ll be all right. And with a straight face: “I’m a certified yard wanderer.”

And yes, after a few hours, there’s wood there, and roof tiles, poles and screws and everything.

“Like this, two poles, the wood for the construction, starting on this side, covering the whole area – this was your idea, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, exactly! A bit extended on the wind-and-rain-side …this is exactly it. Great!”

“Do you have such a big drill, type cork screw, to make the hole in the ground? Somewhere?”

“Yes, but it only goes 30 or 40 cm deep. I can help you, I can also play a role in the digging of the hole … ” I offer, and Henk of course asks directly:” Hm, play a role, play a role, what does that mean?”

“Well, uh … I could take out my pompoms, and encourage you “Yeah, Henk, you can do it! H-E-N-K-SU-PER-O-KAY! Or something…” I smile widely, “Or, for example … I could possibly also scoop out a little bit of dirt …. it is just a matter of requesting. Filling in the right forms, finding the right tone, having the right connections …. ”

We both have to laugh heartily. The nicest volunteers are those with whom you can make jokes, fantasize, talk about silly things, have a good laugh

Henk pulls a straight face again and says: “I will take it into careful consideration; and later my decision-making will take place.”

And with more laughter I go back to my dinner-preparing, and he goes on with the yard-wandering.

Good to have a yard wanderer around!

.

<< previous

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is going to be a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

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